Jon Huntsman continued his swing through upstate South Carolina on Tuesday and rolled out new, "coveted" endorsements in his run for president. Additional members of the Campbell family, regarded as political establishment, are joining the fold. Iris Campbell, widow of former South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell and their eldest son, Carroll Campbell III, announced their support at Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville. Mrs. Campbell and Carroll Campbell III join Mike Campbell, 2008 South Carolina Chairman of Mike Huckabee's campaign, who had previously endorsed Huntsman.
Today Mike Campbell said, "We have the opportunity to go from having I would guess the least qualified president this country has ever had... to having a man with the qualifications of Jon Huntsman. We feel like South Carolina is going to be a bellwether state for you." Carroll Campbell III said Huntsman, "speaks with a voice that unites people" and in a statement ahead of the event, "He balanced budgets, created jobs and passed free-market health care reform without mandates... I am confident South Carolinians will rally around the campaign."
Huntsman showed his gratitude to the well connected Campbell family which has backed the previous GOP winners of the South Carolina primary, "I am humbled by the support of Gov. Campbell's family." Referring to how Gov. Carroll Campbell was the gold standard role model, Huntsman stated, "I'm going to do for this country what Carroll Campbell did for South Carolina."
Monday night, Huntsman faced a crowd of 50 to 75 people at a restaurant in Greer. He continued the theme he carried during his weekend in Florida, calling Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget plan a good idea. He said debt and spending are unsustainable, "We are spending money that we don't have. This country desperately needs a balanced budget amendment."
He went on to say the country needs to start making things, drawing attention to Boeing which has been a hot button issue for the state. Boeing recently opened a new plant in South Carolina which has been the target of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint. Over at the endorsement event in Greenville on Tuesday, he called out his former boss, President Obama, "If Campbell (referring to former South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell) were here, and watching the situation with Boeing and the Labor Board, he would be the first person to stand up and he would tell the labor board to stand down. If the president of the United States cared about jobs in South Carolina, he, too, would be standing up and telling the labor board to stand down."
In a summer of elevated gas prices, Huntsman called for energy independence at the Monday night event in Greer, "Here we sit today: 60 percent imported oil." He finished big with, "I am running on my record. Some people run from their record and I am running ON my record." A number of headlines have interpreted that as a dig at one of his top tier rivals for the Republican party's nomination, Mitt Romney. The drama continued at Tuesday's event (see Huntsman Questions Romney's Job Creation Record). This week, the Huntsman campaign's blog and Reality Room have also highlighted the contrast between healthcare plans which passed in Utah and Massachusetts while Huntsman and Romney served as governors.
Junior Reporter Mary Quinn O'Connor contributed to this report.